Sacramento Kings at Boston Celtics Preview
The playoff window for the Sacramento Kings is closing fast with just 16 games remaining in the regular season for them and plenty of ground to make up. If they want to start that climb tonight, they’ll have to do so on the road against the Boston Celtics.
Sacramento has a 33-33 record and are ninth place in the Western Conference. They are 3-7 in their last 10 games and are coming into Boston on a loss. The Kings are 4.5 games behind the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers. The Celtics are 41-27 on the season and have been struggling lately, winning four of their last 10 and losing their last game. The Celtics are fifth in the Eastern Conference and seem to be locked into a 4-5 first-round playoff matchup with either the Philadelphia 76ers or Indiana Pacers.
The Celtics edged out Sacramento 111-109 on March 6 during their first meeting of the season. Jayson Tatum and Harrison Barnes led their teams with 24 points apiece.
Time: 7:30pm ET
Arena: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Channel: NBCSB, NBCSCA
Sacramento Kings Starting Lineup
The Sacramento Kings have been in games lately, but securing wins and executing down the stretch has been their weak point. In their loss to the Celtics last week, they lost by two, and on Monday night against the Wizards, they made a late rally to close the gap but could not close out and lost 115-121.
“We did not approach the beginning of this game like a game that was live-or-die for us,” Kings forward Harrison Barnes said. “They came out hungrier, they came out with more enthusiasm, with more effort, and honestly, that is unacceptable. As a leader, I have to be better at making sure that we are prepared mentally to be ready to go.
The Kings started each half off slow and had to try to make up for it in the second and fourth quarters.
De’Aaron Fox led the Kings with 23 points and eight assists. Barnes and Buddy Hield added 15 apiece, and Bogdan Bogdanovic finished with 13 points. Marvin Bagley III has been out, so Nemanja Bjelica and Harry Giles have taken on bigger roles and minutes, and they had 15 and 12 points apiece on Monday, but Bagley has been cleared to play tonight.
Boston Celtics Starting Lineup
The Boston Celtics will finally be home tonight after spending the last four games in California. They went 3-1 in their West coast road trip but ended it by being blown out by the Los Angeles Clippers 115-140. While they had solid wins against Golden State, Sacramento, and the Lakers, they have more questions to answer after the Clippers loss.
“We stayed together through ups and downs,” Al Horford said. “Obviously tonight didn’t go how we wanted, but I feel like we really played with purpose and we want to continue playing that same way now that we’re going back home.”
A win against the Clippers would have narrowed the gap between the Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers, but they’ll hope to do that tonight.
Guard Terry Rozier, who has notably struggled when he has had to play behind Kyrie Irving and has shined when given the opportunity to start when Irving is injured, was a standout in his reserve role behind Kyrie against the Clippers. He finished with 26 points to lead the Celtics in scoring.
With Jayson Tatum out, Jaylen Brown started and he delivered with 22 points and seven rebounds. Irving added 18 points and 11 assists. Tatum is expected to play tonight, but Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis are questionable.
Sacramento Kings at Boston Celtics Betting Odds
The Celtics are 7.5 point favorites to win tonight’s game at home. They are 24-10 at TD Garden and 36-20 as the favorite. The Kings are 13-19 on the road and 17-31 as the underdog.
The over/under is 228 points and the Celtics are -320 at the moneyline after opening at -360.